Cristiano Ronaldo scooped the 2013 Ballon d'Or Award, the biggest individual award in European football, ahead of Lionel Messi and Franck Ribery.
The Real Madrid star was the big favourite for glory in the build-up to the presentation in Zurich on Monday, Jan. 13, with his individual achievements at club and international level outweighing those of the competition.
As reported by Sky Sports, Ronaldo praised his colleagues at club level and also his Portugal team-mates when he collected the award:
First of all, I have to say a great thanks to all of my team-mates with the club and the national team. Without all of their efforts this would not have been possible. I am very happy, it is very difficult to win this award.
Everybody that has been involved with me on a personal level, I have to thank. My wife, my friends, my son. It is a tremendously emotional moment. All I can say is thank you to everybody that has been involved.
Is Ronaldo a worthy winner of the Ballon d'Or?
In a year that Ronaldo scored a remarkable 69 goals in 59 games, including 14 in the Champions League, per ESPN FC, he is a deserving winner of the award.
With votes cast by 184 coaches, 184 national captains and 173 members of the global media, BBC Sport reported that Ronaldo finished with a total of 1,365 points, while Messi and Ribery received 1,205 and 1,127 respectively.
The numbers suggest that the competition was a lot closer than many believed and, despite being viewed as an outsider—as per Massimo Marioni in the Metro—Messi was not especially far behind Ronaldo when the final figures are analysed.
Despite a lack of silverware to bask in, Real Madrid finishing runners-up to Barcelona in La Liga, losing in the Champions League semi-finals to Borussia Dortmund and being beaten by city rivals Atletico Madrid in the Copa del Rey final, Ronaldo has received the individual honour his contribution deserved.
Very proud to win the Ballon d’Or for the second time, it means so much to me. I thank my teammates. pic.twitter.com/INcV1VjgDx— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) January 13, 2014
There is also the small matter of helping Portugal qualify for the 2014 World Cup by beating Sweden in a two-legged play-off game in which he scored four goals across the two games, including a remarkable hat-trick in the second-leg.
Ian Hawkey of the Telegraph disagrees with this sentiment, claiming that Messi remains the fans' favourite regardless of the voting: "Messi is less envious and less easy to goad than his Real Madrid rival."
It was not a vintage year for the four-time winner, who missed the final months of 2013 through injury. Having said that, it was still pretty special by any normal mortal's standards.
Messi came out on top against Ronaldo in the La Liga scoring stakes and set an impressive record of scoring in 19 consecutive games as well as scoring against every team in La Liga.
He also won the Primera Division title and the Spanish Super Cup to make sure there were new trophies to add to his cabinet, which, one can only imagine, is overflowing already.
In third place, and always an unlikely winner, was Ribery, the chosen one from a team of chosen ones and seemingly selected as the individual representative for the best side in Bayern Munich's history.
Ribery helped Bayern to win five trophies in 2013, a veritable clean sweep, including the Champions League, the Bundesliga, the DFB Pokal, the Club World Cup and the UEFA Super Cup.
Along the way, he was only on the losing side three times and chipped in with a respectable tally of 22 goals in 52 games, as Bayern dominated European football in a way rarely seen.
It was only right that a team of such quality had a representative, but his individual contribution was no match for the sheer superhuman abilities of Ronaldo and Messi.